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Easter Eggs


Easter is the ancient spring festival, personified by the goddess Eostur, and happens to coincide with Christian commemoration of Christ's resurrection. Eggs, usually hard boiled, the shells decorated by being painted or dyed. The tradition appears to originate in the East, perhaps Russia, in the 17th Century, being introduced to England around 1770.

If Easter eggs do indeed originate in the East, they may have historically been similar to these still made in Ukraine. Image: L.Kenzel

One of the earliest descriptions we can find is from Lancaster Gazette of Saturday 1 April 1815, which ascribes a Persian Muslim origin to them:

To the Editor of The Lancaster Gazette.

A SHORT time before Easter, the children of poor people in this neighbourhood, collect what they call Pace Eggs, probably meaning Paschal Eggs. On Easter Sunday, the children of all ranks amuse themselves with eggs dyed, gilt, and otherwise or- ornamented. It is Well known, that our Easter is celebrated at the same time as the Jewish Passover, viz.- in the first month of the astronomical year, and it is rather singular to observe, that the same custom which is preserved amongst children here, is an ancient observance of Eastern nations; and probably of Heathen origin. It would be amusing to learn how far the ceremony is general in this country, and how it has descended to us. Leaving these inquiries, however; to more learned antiquaries, I send you a passage from Sir John Chardip's Travels, as quoted by Hariner:- The Mahommedans of Persia now observe the first day of every hew year, according to the reckoning of their ancient Heathen country men, namely, the precise day in which the Sun enters into Aries, which is in March- it is now celebrated with great splendour, and one custom is revived, of presenting one another with painted and gilded eggs, some of -them being so curiously done, as to cost three ducats a piece. This it seems was a very ancient custom in Persia, an egg being expressive of the origin and beginning of things."
Lancaster, March 30, 1815

Creme Eggs
Onion Skin Eggs
Easter Biscuits
Easter Cake
Easter Eggs
Easter Nests
Goosnargh Cake
Lent Tart or Kentish Pudding Pie
Mother's Day Cake
Sedgemoor Easter Cake
Simnel Cake Bread
Tansy, or Tansy Pudding

Search Foods of England for more about: Easter...

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